Lucknow, the abode of the Nawabs, is known not just for its mesmerizing views, but also for its food, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Lucknow’s food is so heavily influenced by the Awadh dynasty, that the food there has a distinctly royal flavour to it, and what a heavenly feeling it is to dig into that food! Lucknow is also well-known for its kebabs; Kakori, Galouti, Shammi Kebabs, you name it.
Galouti Kebabs, named so because of their cooking process and ‘melt-in-the-mouth’ quality (Galawat), are said to have been prepared specially for Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. The Nawab, in spite of having lost most of his teeth, did not lose his love for meat. And thus the royal kitchens whipped up these luscious and ultra soft kebabs. The meat was marinated for hours, tenderized with raw papaya paste, to which a mix of exotic spices was added. The keema was shaped into patties and shallow fried on a ‘tawa’ with ghee, until beautiful and golden.
My version of course, is neither royal, nor made of meat 😉
Though I am pretty-much hardcore when it comes to eating meat, these kebabs were made entirely on a whim. I had a large cup of boiled rajma (red kidney beans) and for the longest time, I was keen on making some kebabs with it. But the idea of Galouti kebabs was entirely momentary…
I’ve seen a lot of recipes that call for vegetarian Galouti kebabs, and some even use mushrooms or paneer solely to make these, though I prefer Rajma due to the meatiness it gives. The additions can be varied; potatoes, paneer, both, or neither. Whatever you choose to make it with, these kebabs need that extra love and affection that promise to satisfy your palate like never before.
Rajma ke Galouti kebabs (my way)
- Rajma/kidney beans – 1 cup (about 150 gms)
- Crumbled paneer – 1/2 cup (about 80 gms)
- Cashew nuts – 6, roasted, ground into fine powder
- Ginger – 1 inch piece, grated
- Garlic – 6 to 7 cloves, minced
- Green chilies – few, chopped
- Onion – 2, chopped really fine
- Garam masala powder – 1 tbsp
- Atta/Wheat flour – 3 to 4 tbsp, check mixture for moisture and add
- Salt – to taste
- Ghee – for frying
- Mash the rajma well, keeping it slightly coarse and ensuring no moisture remains.
- In a pan, saute the onion, ginger and garlic until the raw smell is gone.
- Cool and add to rajma.
- Add the crumbled paneer, cashew nut powder, salt, green chilies and garam masala powder.
- Mix well, and add the flour, checking to see if you need to add more or less depending on how soft the mixture is.
- Once mixed well, divide the dough into equal portions.
- Take a bowl of water, and dip your fingers in it, patting the palms of your hand.
- Take a portion of kebab dough and give it a flat, round shape.
- Shape each kebab the same way, using the water if you find it tough the handle the dough.
- Place the shaped kebabs in the fridge for 15 to 30 mins (optional step)
- Heat a tawa or non-stick pan and grease with ghee.
- Place the kebabs on the greased tawa, on a low flame, letting them roast well on one side.
- Keep basting with ghee, and then flip the kebabs when one side is golden and crisp.
- Repeat the steps for the other side of the kebabs.
- Once well-browned and crisp, turn off heat and remove kebabs on to a platter.
- Garnish with dried mint.
- Serve with yogurt-mind dip or chutney of choice.